Herding bugs for faster development

A winner in the StartMate funding and mentoring program, BugHerd, hopes its tool will speed up the obstacles in software development commonly caused by bug tracking and resolution.

A winner in the StartMate funding and mentoring program, BugHerd, hopes its tool will speed up the obstacles in software development commonly caused by bug tracking and resolution.

BugHerd was developed by Melbourne-based developer Angry Monkeys, founded in 2007 by Alan Downie, who was later joined by designer Matt Milosavljevic and Thuy Downie.

The idea was devised when Downie's development of another tool was hampered by cumbersome bug tracking.

"Milestones were being missed simply by trying to track them," Downie said. "Our bottleneck was not us, but the way we were logging and resolving bugs."

BugHerd is a web-based application which speeds up bug tracking by embedding the functionality directly into the site being worked on, which Downie said eliminates the need for switching between apps, and as a result increases productivity.

Angry Monkeys received $25,000 seed funding and mentoring advice as part of a program coordinated by StartMate, a collection of 27 successful Australian entrepreneurs that have launched successful global businesses.

The inaugural program was started so that successful Australian entrepreneurs could lend their finances and expertise back to the local community, in an effort to cultivate the industry.

BugHerd was selected as one of five businesses that presented a scaleable, mature business idea which could be easily monetised, according to StartMate founder Niki Scevak.

BugHerd is aimed at small teams, between two and 10 members, that are developing web applications based on Agile principles, which prioritise faster releases ahead of complex features.

Downie said that BugHerd addresses the shortcomings of traditional bug tracking tools, which have many features and are designed for large projects.

"There are lot of competitors in the bug tracking space such as Bugzilla, FogBugz, Jira etc," he said. "These tools are more about release management and accountability than getting stuff done."

He said that as a small start-up that has overcome development obstacles, it understands and can better respond to the development needs of smaller teams.

"Being small with a small product allows us to better focus on the needs of these users and provide them with the one-on-one customer support they need," he said.

"Most importantly, as a start-up we understand the pressures and needs of the industry better than the bigger players. We know what it means to want to "just get it done" and how that is a different impulse than traditional project management."

BugHerd is hoping to have 1000 teams using the software in the first year, and plans to charge about $10 per user per month to use the service.



The company has developed a product that was born out of a real problem. As a small developer it understands other small developers. It also has the support of StartMate mentors.


There might be a learning curve for some people to use this type of software, specifically for implementing processes to use it properly.


It's an untapped market and there are no indications of competitive offerings from the established players.


Small businesses, who are demanding customers at the best of times, will expect perfection from a product designed to speed up development. They will turn away in droves if the tool cannot meet this expectation.


Ordinarily, this type of application would be beyond the capacity of a small developer, but with the financial and — critically — mentoring support of established entrepreneurs, this should be a success.



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